10 Insane Doctor Who Rumours That Never Happened

What on Earth links Doctor Who with Robert Mugabe, Pamela Anderson and North Korea?

Johnny Depp Doctor Who

Doctor Who has been a British institution for nearly six decades now, and like all such institutions the show has had it's fair share of scurrilous rumours, half-truths and outright lies. A lot of this is due to the show's popularity, a Doctor Who news story guarantees clicks from fans eager for more information in the fallow period between episodes.

During the 1990s, whilst the show was off the air, there appeared to be a rumour of a new film or series going into production every other week, with increasingly wild casting. The unfounded rumours and out-of-control fan theories didn't stop when the show came back in 2005 either!

On the day Christopher Eccleston was announced as the new Doctor, the Daily Mail tried to get ahead of the competition and published a story reporting that Bill Nighy had been cast.

As social media has exploded over the past decade, these rumours and half-truths spread like wildfire amongst fan communities and even find their way into the papers.

So let's take a look at some of the most ridiculous items of Fake Whos from the history of the show and see if we can detect any truth to them.

10. Robert Mugabe Had Missing Doctor Who Episodes

Johnny Depp Doctor Who
By Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lock (USAF) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Due to a shocking lack of commercial foresight and cultural appreciation, much of the early years of Doctor Who are no longer available. Thanks to the efforts of self-styled Indiana Jones impersonator-cum-internet troll Philip Morris and record producer/overly thorough genealogist Ian Levine, many of these lost works have now been rediscovered.

Missing Doctor Who episodes have been dug up in all manner of places from church basements to Hong Kong and Nigerian broadcasting stations. Since 2013, rumours have persisted that someone holds a copy of every missing episode of Doctor Who and has a list of insane demands they want fulfilled before they even consider returning them to the BBC.

That man? Deceased Zimbabwean Prime Minister Robert Mugabe. No, not really, but back in 2009 The Sun ran an article which claimed that Zimbabwe had bought the first series of Doctor Who back in the early 60s for broadcast in the country.

Due to the poor diplomatic relations between the UK and Zimbabwe following their dismissal from the Commonwealth, it was proving difficult for UK researchers to get in and root through the archive. Mugabe has been dead for almost three years now, and, as far as we're aware, hadn't listed all seven episodes of Marco Polo in his will.


Citizen of the Universe, Film Programmer, Writer, Podcaster, Doctor Who fan and a gentleman to boot. As passionate about Chinese social-realist epics as I am about dumb popcorn movies.